I heard about KDP publishing yesterday and took a quick peek at some of the threads. Not quite sure how it all works yet, but my question is about editing. I wrote a novel in 1995 and tried to get it published. Although many publishers said the synopsis and excerpts were really good, they weren't interested in picking up a first time writer or someone without their 15 mins. of fame. I am excited about this group and I'm going to update my novel, i.e., cell phones weren't around that much back then. I would like to have it reviewed by an editor prior to publishing. Does anyone out there know of someone who edits and what the fees are? Do most of you edit your own books? Thanks.
Well, there's more than one kind of editing. There's content editing (plot, character development, tone, voice, etc.) and copy editing (grammar, punctuation, consistency). (And production editing, but that's really for print.)
I do both types of editing for other people's books; but for my own, I have others read it for content, and then I do the copy editing myself. It's much harder to copy edit your own stuff than someone else's, but then you also care a lot more (one assumes!) so you're more willing to do extra passes.
I think in the past, traditional agents/publishers were more willing to content edit manuscripts. Now they seem to be looking more for something that's ready to be proofread and published. Which is a shame, IMO.
Oh, and fees vary wildly! Get some quotes and then go for something in the middle, would be my rough advice. Always ask for a (free) sample edit first, so you know what you're getting and that you have compatible work styles.
Once I finish a book, I read it and make any corrections or changes I see. Then I have my wife read it and mark any suggested changes/corrections. After that, I send it to two of five or six different friends who are or have been involved in publishing, are English teachers, in the newspaper business, etc They make their suggestions, and then, after all of that is done, I read through it one more time.
Never try to proof or edit your own book and leave it at that. A career in the newspaper business taught me long ago that you will overlook mistakes.
I use one or more beta readers - and then convert the file to Microsoft Reader - to listen to the book. When the machine reads it back, I catch a lot. Yet, not everything.
With my McIntyre book I hired an editor along with the beta readers and Microsoft Reader, and with the others, I've used friends and or family with editing experience. I'll hire an editor for the next McIntyre book too.
Editing your own book is never a good thing. Even if you know something is wrong, your eyes can skip over the error.
As an indie writer, I’m surrounded with friends who are not interested of writing, so I pretty much do everything. Although I have an editor/proof reader, but that comes later
I write about 26 chapters first drafts, then as I finish I go back to the very first chapter and edit/revise/cut unnecessary sentences, and so on. The process for me would be repeated for about four times with days maybe more of pauses between revisions so I can have fresh eyes . Then that’s the time I send it to my editor.
Misternixter is right. We pretty much over look mistakes even we thought it’s polished already. I almost publish with my discreet spelled as discrete, and arms race spelled arms raise. We’re so much intimately close to our book, that the fact the missing these mistakes is scary. So basically, we should polish it on our own, but we should also find other eyes to look into it.
As a self-published author, it's tough to get anyone to look at your book. If it has any errors, it becomes almost impossible. Only a few review sites will even consider self-published ebooks, and if it hasn't been professionally edited the chances are even slimmer.
I have five people review my book multiple times, two professional editors, an eighth grade English teacher, another published writer, and a very snarky critique partner. That's in addition to at least 3-5 editing passes that I make.
My credentials: 5 years newspaper editing, edited two text books, taught business writing at a public university. No one is qualified to edit their own work. You tend to read what is supposed to be there, not what is really there.
To do it right, you need to hire a real editor. Someone who knows where the commas go (trust me, you don't, and neither do your friends) and what to leave out. When to use "who," and when to use "whom." (You don't know that, either.) When to use ..., and when to use --. Is a word hyphenated? You've got to use an editor.
And that is assuming you know how to construct a novel. Unless you are schooled in it, you need someone who will tell you that the story does not flow, or the story arc is not there.
Thanks to all of you who responded for the advice. I have written and rewritten several times and will soon be ready to find someone to edit it. I have had friends read it, but think they might be more polite than objective. Does anyone have a guesstimate as to what it costs to have it professionally edited. Do I need to sell my first born?
It depends on a whole bunch of things. How long is your manuscript? What's your expected turn-around time? What kinds of errors do you (mostly) have? (because some take longer to fix than others) How many drafts will you need? (edits that ask for rewrites mean more drafts, because your rewrites will have to be checked too). Remember though that even in a very clean manuscript, every sentence is going to have to be checked. There's no way to find every error without reading every sentence, even if most sentences are error-free.
If your first-born could do heavy yard work... I'd trade ya.
It also depends on whether you're asking for proofreading or content-editing, or a combo of both. Content-editing is going to cost more.
Some editors charge by the page, some by the word count. I ask for a few sample pages, and I time myself at it. For proof-reading, I'm aiming to hit about $25 an hour--but that's because most people simply can't pay more. And it's one reason I don't take on more proofreading jobs (since major publishers pay me $75 an hour for content editing, and about that for production editing). Then I give a total fee proposal, which covers two rounds. Anything above that we can negotiate. I generally throw in cover copy and Amazon blurb proofreading for free, because it would bug me to get a manuscript polished and then have a typo-ridden blurb up there for the book.